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Joined 2 years, 2 months ago

Science fiction and fantasy. Astronomical Data Scientist at STScI/MAST in Baltimore. Opinions are my own. Follow me on Mastodon at Longer reviews on my blog:

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2024 Reading Goal

75% complete! Strakul has read 9 of 12 books.

Adrian Tchaikovsky: Children of Memory (2022, Pan Macmillan) 4 stars

Earth is failing. In a desperate bid to escape, the spaceship Enkidu and its captain, …

What does it mean to be sentient?

4 stars

This was a fun book and opens up some interesting possibilities for more potential adventures in this universe. However, in my opinion its the weakest of the three books thus far. While parts of it are very cool, the big mystery of Imir is a bit too dense and drags on without a clear resolution until the very end of the book. Once it does, it's fine and very clever, it just takes too long to get there. I do look forward to seeing how the series continues, with the hope that some of the formula gets shaken up a bit.

For a full review, check out my blog:

Adrian Tchaikovsky, Adrian Tchaikovsky: Children of Ruin (Paperback, 2020, Pan Macmillan) 4 stars

The astonishing sequel to Children of Time, the award-winning novel of humanity’s battle for survival …

Interspecies communication is harder than it looks

5 stars

This was a fascinating book, probably even better than it's predecessor, Children of Time. There is a lot going on plot-wise, and we do need a few sections of exposition, but otherwise it paints an intriguing tale of contact between civilizations. These new aliens are even more alien than the uplifted spiders and it's very interesting to see the characters struggle through to communicate with them.

For a full review, check out my blog:

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reviewed The City We Became by N. K. Jemisin (Great Cities, #1)

N. K. Jemisin: The City We Became (Hardcover, 2020, Orbit) 4 stars

Five New Yorkers must come together in order to defend their city.

Every city has …

Explosively creative & often funny.

5 stars

New York comes alive, through six human avatars, but something in the multiverse isn't happy. Explosively creative & often funny. Shares a deep love for the city & its people. Clever use of identity politics and gentrification.

reviewed Children of Time by Adrian Tchaikovsky (Children of Time, #1)

Adrian Tchaikovsky: Children of Time (Paperback, 2018, Orbit) 4 stars

The last remnants of the human race left a dying Earth, desperate to find a …

A modern, classic sci-fi tale

5 stars

This was a great book and I see why it has won awards and is generally regarded in a positive light. While the characters are basic, they are nonetheless interesting and the plot is straightforward enough to keep the focus on the setting. The setting is excellent and the way the two societies, one human, one spider, is explored is clever. I enjoyed both viewpoints and wish we had gotten more time after they merged together, but maybe that is a story for the second novel? I look forward to reading the other novels in this series and finding out.

For a full review, check out my blog:

Ernest Cline: Ready Player One (Ready Player One, #1) (Paperback, 2011, Crown Publishers) 4 stars

Ready Player One is a 2011 science fiction novel, and the debut novel of American …

80s nostalgia with a clever concept, but weak narrative

3 stars

Overall this was a fun read. The world itself is quite dystopian, but the OASIS is incredible. It feels like a very natural evolution of today's online society, for better or worse. Some of the plot can feel a little sluggish with the exposition and the slowdown in the second arc of the book, but it has a good payoff at the end. The characters are OK, but not developed as well as the focus is almost solely on the main character Parzival and his obsession with the 80s, the hunt, and Art3mis. I think the concept behind this (and the nostalgia) was pretty good, though the narrative could have been better, both in terms of characters and plot.

For a full review, check out my blog:

reviewed The Price of Spring by Daniel Abraham (Long Price Quartet, #4)

Daniel Abraham: The Price of Spring (2009, Tor) 4 stars

Fifteen years have passed since the devastating war between the Galt Empire and the cities …

A fitting conclusion to this 4-book series

5 stars

The final book of the Long Price Quartet. In hindsight, it makes perfect sense the direction this book took, but at the end of the 3rd one I wasn't sure what could come next. Overall a fitting conclusion to the series.

For a spoiler-free review of the full series, check out my blog: